Casablanca Chandigarh: A Report on Modernization documents two complementary urban realities that have played a fundamental role in the imagination, definition and redefinition of the twentieth-century modern city. Shifting away from an understanding of architecture as the construction of monumental masterpieces, the texts collected here assemble the narratives behind the public spaces, housing and social facilities in these two cities, where modern plans have proven unexpectedly resilient and adaptable over time. This perspective is reinforced through visual contributions by Yto Barrada and Takashi Homma—two photographers especially invested in capturing everyday urban life.
In a world marked by decolonization and Cold War politics, Casablanca and Chandigarh appear simultaneously as exponents of and countercurrents to modernization and its development perspectives. The book’s three chapters set the context for reading Casablanca and Chandigarh as the results of nuanced, dynamic processes of international exchange driven by the engagement and expertise of a new class of design professionals. As a dossier of actors, alignments and agendas, the book contributes to an alternative historiography of post-war urbanism and to recent reflections on the impact of transnational practice.